While on my Summer holiday this year in Norway, I got the most amazing opportunity to go on a glacier hike on the Folgefonna Glacier, Norway’s 3rd largest glacier, while staying in Voss up in the mountains.
It was a rather scary mile upward drive in the old, bumpy camper-van to get to the Fonna glacier and Summer ski centre in Jondal (it’s closed in the Winter season due to 23 metres of snow, you can’t even see the centre!) which was our set off point, right on the edge of the glacier.
We were greeted warmly by the glacier walking team and were kitted out with boots, crampons, water-proof over layers, ice-axes and were given the safety brief by our guides, Anakin and Canut.
Once we were on the glacier, roped together; a band of adventurers from all around the world, it was like nothing i’d ever experienced. The views were stunning. It was mainly blue ice which was beautiful. The mix of the whites and blues all around was just amazing. The glacier stretched for miles, bright and beautiful. The patterns and layers etched into the ice due to centuries of glacier movement were all so intricate and different. The swirls, the rises and the falls, blue and white of all different shades and vibrancy. Everywhere you looked was just this bright, glorious glacier of immense scale and immeasurable beauty.
We were lead over crevice’s which ,despite the fact that they were probably less that 30cm wide, were pretty daunting to step over when you can’t even see the bottom! At one point we got to walk into a crevice with the ice towering either side in a topless tunnel of white it was really quite spectacular. The edges were covered in the ice’s patterns, nature’s canvas of white.
The embarrassing moment of the day came when I managed to drop a single glove down a pothole type crevice and ended up having to borrow our guide Canut’s spare pair as well as his extra coat. And if this wasn’t awkward enough on it’s own I then got the coat zipper stuck and Canut had to pause our whole group’s trek so he could come over and help me do up a coat! Great.
We had the chance to use our ice-axes to navigate slightly steeper faces which just makes you feel like a bit of an action hero (although after the glove and coat incident I doubt I could ever redeem myself to the group). The axes had another use, to test the ground for crevice’s and strong snow bridges we could cross. The glacier is changing all the time and the route the guides take is different every day, they always have to check where is safe to move and where is actually a deep pit hidden with fresh snow.
Once the mist cleared we were treated to nature’s most breathtaking view. No photo could ever capture or do justice to the raw, awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world around us on top of that glacier. The mountains started off big and strong and then faded off into the distance, the fjord’s dipped in and out of view, playfully dancing in and around the mountain valley’s and the snow capped the peaks. It truly was the most wonderful sight I have ever had the honour of seeing, it was like something you could dream up. No where does scenery quite like Norway and the Folgefonna glacier was the cream of the crop.
In the endless snow and ice, shuffling among the brightness and vivid colour, nothing was more unforgettable. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I would recommend to anyone and everyone.
Oh look, I’m the fifth person in!